Two fabled knights are jousting on Broadway these days, and no, it’s not a revival of Camelot. The knights are Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Patrick Stewart and they’re appearing together at the Cort Theater in two plays, Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, and Harold Pinter’s No Man’s Land, both directed by Sean Mathias.
These two stars are just half the company, but the other half are also players of considerable stature: Billy Crudup and Shuler Hemsley. Both plays have darkness at their centers, but have a lot of built-in comedy. In a production with such high-wattage stars, do the players outshine the plays they’re in, or does the ensemble take us deeply inside these two important 20th century stage works? New York Times theater critic Charles Isherwood shares his reactions.